Jamaica Gleaner
Published: Monday | July 5, 2010
Home : Flair
Dionne's true passion: Coochi-Anna's
The brain behind the present concept of Coochi-Anna's, Dionne Taylor. Right after acquiring her Bachelor's degree in economics and political science, she acted on her love for fashion and today she is an established designer and store owner. - Photos by Colin Hamilton/freelance photographer
Latoya Grindley, Gleaner Writer

In 2005, Dionne Taylor graduated from the University of the West Indies (UWI) Mona, with a double-major degree in economics and political science.

Today, she is recognised as a talented fashion designer and entrepreneur as she operates her own boutique, Coochi-Anna's. By the way, if you're wondering about the name, it comes from what she used to be called as a child. Who knew it would become so important.

Now this route (starting a boutique) may not be the typical direction many UWI graduates would take, especially having attained a degree in those fields. But according to Taylor, it is called love; a love she developed from her tender years.

"I grew up working and hanging around in my mother's store in Westmoreland. And even when I was growing up, I made my dolly clothes and from ever since, made some of my own clothes."

Even though it is a passion of hers, Taylor admits that her mother, who herself is in the same line of work (a store owner), isn't satisfied. In fact, she would love to see her daughter work in a field corresponding with her studies.

Pleasing her mother

"I studied at UWI to please my mother. She worked really hard so I would not end up doing the same thing as her. She didn't have the same opportunities and just wanted the best."

To make mom proud was one of the objectives of furthering her education, but the time came around when she wanted to fully pursue her true passion. The 25 year-old has been operating her store for four years, but it has been two years since she started designing and retailing her own pieces.

"I started out retailing other pieces but I always had ideas and designs that I couldn't find anywhere. There were also times when persons, including artistes, would come to me with an idea in mind about a particular look they would want but I just couldn't find the style."

In her attempt to please customers and to materialise her ideas, Taylor started designing for a few artistes. And from designing for the small number, she has now evolved to being able to stock her own store. At present, 95 per cent of the clothing in the store is designed by her.

"I can say that since I have started selling my own pieces, I am selling more; a lot more people are buying."

While featuring her designs in the store, Taylor still has the responsibility of filling orders from clients. The designs she comes up with are mostly left up to her decision.

"They normally leave it up to me. If they have a design sketched out already, I would say it is best that they take it to a dressmaker. I come up with my own designs for individuals based on their physique and personality. Sometimes I will test them with things in the store first."

As part of the summer holidays which features many parties, things have become busier for the designer who has orders coming in.

"There are a lot of beach parties coming up right now too and I have orders coming up for those and other events." She says some orders are finished within two days. In describing her pieces she says, "trendy designs and casually elegant" that are not to be limited to a particular season.

On display in the store are designs suited for smaller frames. However, persons shouldn't be disappointed if they don't see their size as when taking orders, Taylor caters for all sizes. She also sells accessories to go with the outfits.

Coochi-Anna's is located upstairs the New Kingston Shopping Centre. Dionne Taylor can also be contacted at 407-1664.

Model: Jordan Spencer

Jodi-Ann Halladeen

Accessories also provided by Coochi-Anna's.


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